States Are Recognizing And Rewarding Students Who Have Bilingual Skills

When Rachel Martinez-Regan graduated from her high school in western Oregon state this month, her diploma had a little something extra — an embossed seal certifying that she is bilingual.

She is one of more than a dozen students at Corvallis High School who earned the distinction based on their proficiency in English and Spanish. The honor is part of a pilot project led by several school districts in the state with dual-language programs, and the Oregon Department of Education plans to make the bilingual seals available statewide next year.

California, New Mexico, Washington, Illinois and Louisiana are among the other states that are recognizing and rewarding bilingual education.

Martinez-Regan said the bilingual program was academically challenging but she’s certain it will give her career plans a boost.

“I’m thinking of becoming a lawyer, to give the Spanish-speaking community a voice,” said Martinez-Regan, who is half Latina but did not speak Spanish before enrolling in the program.

She will attend Yale University this fall.

Dual-language programs have gained in popularity across the U.S. as employers seek bilingual, bicultural workers, and more parents view bilingualism as necessary for their children’s success in a globalized world.

Such programs are offered in Spanish, Mandarin, Vietnamese and Russian, among other languages, and many have waiting lists. Enrolled students take literacy and academic subjects in a foreign language for at least part of the school day.

Experts say dual programs and the languages they teach also reflect the nation’s growing diversity and the fact that students who speak a language other than English at home are among America’s fastest-growing populations.

Congress first mandated bilingual education in 1968 to keep non-English-speaking students from falling behind their peers, by teaching them academic subjects in their native language while they also learned English. Bilingual programs were put in place throughout the United States and flourished for several decades.

But as the number of immigrants, especially Asians and Latinos, exploded in the 1980s and 1990s and continued to grow, there was a backlash to ensure English did not lose its primacy. More than 20 states made English their official language.

Critics, including some immigrant parents, said bilingual education was costly and ineffective for English-language learners. Several states, including California and Arizona, banned bilingual education outright.

In recent years, though, bilingual education has regained its popularity and is increasingly attracting native English speakers. The number of dual-language programs, which bring together native English students and English learners in one classroom, ballooned from about 260 nationwide in 2000 to about 3,000 today, according to the Maryland-based National Association for Bilingual Education.

“American parents are coming to the conclusion that the lives and the economic opportunities of their children are tied to being bilingual,” said the group’s executive director, Santiago Wood.

At Corvallis High School, bilingual seals were awarded on the basis of coursework, bicultural knowledge, and a bilingual exit interview and assessment, said Amanda Filloy Sharp, who teaches Spanish-language courses in literature, history and geography at the school.

“These students are not just able to speak academically in both Spanish and English, they also have a deeper understanding of and connection to the local Spanish-speaking community,” Filloy Sharp said.

California, the first state to adopt a biliteracy seal two years ago, has granted more than 30,000 diplomas with seals to students. State records show the seals recognize more than 40 different languages. The California Legislature, meanwhile, is considering a bill that would overturn the bilingual education ban.

Critics such as Silicon Valley entrepreneur Ron Unz, whose organization English for the Children helped dismantle bilingual education in California and elsewhere, say the push for bilingual classrooms remains misguided.

In dual-language programs, Unz said, immigrant children may be “used as unpaid tutors” and “English-speaking children who come from affluent families will benefit much more than English learners.”

But in Oregon, a group of educators, university and state officials says the programs help close the achievement gap for English learners. Several districts with dual-language programs that extend from elementary to high school are working with area universities to help evaluate the students.

Posted in Market News | Leave a comment

Easy and Cheap International Long Distance Calls with Pure Minutes Mobile Long Distance

Twenty years ago, approximately 200 million international calls were made annually from the United States. Now we average more than 6.2 billion international calls per year.

More and more foreign citizens are coming to the United States for improved education and job opportunities. Currently, the United States has an annual net immigration of 1.25 million people per year. In addition, the increasing globalization of business has led corporations to set up offices ranging from Indiana to India.

International travel is also a huge industry, with overseas citizens making over 185 million visits to the United States in 2004 alone.

All these factors have led to the rise in international calls. However, if you don’t know the right way to make an international call, they can become extremely expensive. Many more international calling options exist today than there did even a few years ago. Several of these new methods rely on revolutionary new technologies like VoIP, which makes phone calls over the Internet rather than traditional phone lines.

Making an international call from a cell phone is a potentially expensive calling option, but it’s not as difficult as it sounds. Many cellular services are available for international calling.

For example, if your cell phone service provider is Verizon Wireless you’ll pay 49 cents a minute to call Mexico, or $1.49 a minute to call France. Companies like Verizon do offer international calling plans that provide discounted rates for an extra monthly fee however the rates are still fairly high and require a contract.

Pure Minutes announces a new way to save on international long-distance that’s as easy as picking up the phone. Pure Minutes provides a low-cost international calling solution that works with any phone number, regardless of the current provider. This means that a user can enjoy the benefits of low international rates without needing to change their current landline or mobile cell phone service provider.

Pure Minutes has no hidden fees, no connection charges, real minute rounding and can all be used without annual contract. For a limited time, new users can us the coupon code BIRDISTHEWORD to get a 30% BONUS on their very first recharge!

The revolutionary Pure Minutes system instantly recognizes subscribers through an automatic caller identification which eliminates the need for complicated PIN numbers typically found on calling cards. In fact, Pure Minutes has eliminated the need for calling cards altogether. Topping up the minutes has never been easier using any of the convenient recharge locations around the world or online with any major credit card, cash, or a paypal account.

Never lose touch with loved ones again. With the lowest international rates on the market, friends and family are only a phone call away.

Get started by signing up with a free account today, and get your 30% bonus with coupon code BIRDISTHEWORD today!

Posted in Market News | Leave a comment

Messi Who? Colombia’s ‘King James’ Is The World Cup’s New Superstar

In a World Cup where the likes of Lionel Messi and Neymar have been talked about nonstop, another, unlikely hero of the game has taken over.

James Rodriguez – it’s said “HAHM-ez” not ‘jeymez” – has captured the world’s attention with a brilliant performance with Colombia during the group stage and an even nearly-perfect performance against Uruguay.

His two-goal performance with Los Cafeteros included arguably thegoal of the tournament when he controlled a high header on his chest and hit a magnificent volley on the turn that crashed on the underside of the crossbar and into goal.

With this performance, the 22-year-old Monaco player became the tournament’s leading scorer, surpassing the likes of Messi and Neymar with five goals.

But who is James Rodriguez?

He was born in Cúcuta, Colombian in 1991 to Wilson James Rodriguez Bedolla and Maria Del Pilar Rubio.

Rodriguez began his career with the Academia Tolimense before getting his big break after a performance at the Pony Futbol championships in 2004. He joined Envigado soon after.

Four years later, the Banfield soccer club in Argentina snatched him up, where he went on to be labelled the “James Bond of Banfield.” Following a successful stint in Argentinian league, Rodriguez transferred to for the Portuguese side Porto for a $5.1 million EURO four-year contract.

He settled in almost immediately netting 14 goals with 11 assist in 2011/12 to wing breakthrough player of the year aged just 20.

In May 2013, Rodriguez became the second most expensive player in Portuguese league history when the French side team AS Monaco signed a fee believed to be worth $45 million Euros.

At Monaco, alongside injured Colombian superstar Radamel Falcao, Rodriguez was quick to settle in and showed why he was worth the multi-million Euro fee, scoring 10 goals with 12 assists in his debut season.

With the momentum, Rodriguez worked his way into the hearts of soccer fans around the world and taken the spotlight out from under Messi and Neymar’s feet.

“They do things because they have certain gifts that make them special,” Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez told reporters after Saturday’s game. “I believe from what I’ve seen he’s the best player in the World Cup. I’m not exaggerating. … Hopefully he will continue to move on because he’s very young and football needs players with these characteristics.”

If his skills on the field, off the field the young superstar is a devoted husband to Daniela, the sister of teammate David Ospina, and father to his one-year-old daughter Salome

Posted in Market News | Leave a comment

Tech giants dangle cheap housing, free food to lure summer interns

Amazon, Microsoft and Boeing sweeten already lucrative job offers in Seattle with subsidized, furnished housing. Transportation is covered from anywhere in the country, including airport food, baggage fees and taxis. There’s free breakfast and dinner, biweekly housekeeping, a private party with Macklemore and Deadmau5.

And that’s just for the interns.

“We are all competing for those top students,” said Heidi Dowling, intern-program manager for university recruiting at Microsoft, “and what can we do to make our program stand out and what is attractive for a college student to spend their summer with Microsoft?”

Their strategies are working. More than 3,000 students have brought their talents to Seattle this summer to work at those three companies.

Dan Masi is a Seattle intern veteran.

One visit to a career fair at the University of Massachusetts Amherst was enough to make an Amazon internship in Seattle his first choice last summer.

A computer-science and mathematics junior hailing from a Boston suburb, Masi worried about the challenge of moving across the country, especially for only 12 weeks.

“I think the little things — finding my own housing, dealing with flights, dealing with relocation — would’ve just been really difficult,” Masi said. “It would kind of push me to find something closer to home. It probably wouldn’t have been my first choice.”

But Amazon recruiters were clear: Relocation wouldn’t be an issue.

Amazon and Microsoft both contract with ABODA, a Redmond-based corporate housing company, to cater to interns. ABODA rents out rooms in more than 150 locations in Seattle, including apartment buildings, hotels and spare housing at the University of Washington.

ABODA also fully stocks rooms with televisions, bedding, towels, dishes, electronics and more. And it offers housekeeping and catering.

“It’s basically turnkey,” said Marci Abinanti, vice president of corporate housing at ABODA.

Housing’s a snap

Interns get quite a break: Corporate housing generally is subsidized.

Microsoft interns who choose housing over a housing lump-sum stipend of about $2,500 for the summer have three options: a studio for $550, a one-bedroom for $900 or a two-bedroom with a roommate for $625 a month. About 60 percent of the company’s 1,600 Puget Sound interns choose corporate housing, with the rest taking the lump sum, said Dowling.

Lauren Kuan, a computer-science senior from Cornell University, chose to live in a two-bedroom apartment in Bothell during her internship at Microsoft.

The 21-year-old interned at Goldman Sachs in New York City last year. There, she said, she received a small housing stipend but very little help finding a place to stay.

“You were completely thrown in on your own,” Kuan said.

As a program manager intern at Microsoft, Kuan opted for corporate housing in part to have a roommate. She drives a rental car courtesy of Microsoft for the freedom of exploring the Pacific Northwest.

“It shows that they really do care about employees and interns and so on,” Kuan said. “They want to make you very happy and make it very easy.”

Amazon and Boeing declined to offer specific details about the costs of their programs.

While Boeing has long offered a housing stipend and search assistance, the company this year also began offering managed housing, and about 20 percent of its 1,000 Seattle-area interns have chosen that option. Boeing contracts with Altair Global Relocation to furnish its apartments.

“We absolutely want to be competitive with the market,” said Doug Cisler, global staffing regional manager for the northwest U.S. at Boeing. “There’s a lot of competition out there that we compete with for this talent. We put in place the program that we have to be competitive with the market.”

Boeing doesn’t provide local travel to and from work, nor catering or housekeeping.

Andrew Wang, 21, accepted an 11-week internship in supply-chain management at Boeing. He opted for the housing stipend because he wanted to live in Columbia City, located between work in Renton and the nightlife of downtown Seattle.

“When I saw the stipend they gave out for relocation, that made a big impression on me,” said the finance junior at Indiana University. “That was probably the biggest variable in terms of moving over.”

After Amazon flew Masi out to Seattle in May 2013 as a software developer, he settled into a room at the Springhill Suites in downtown Seattle, where he lived with about 100 other Amazon interns. For the first few weeks of his internship, catering for breakfast and dinner wasn’t yet available for interns in the hotel. So Amazon covered room service.

“It was a bummer when they started making dinner,” Masi said.

Amazon docked his $6,000 monthly salary by $500 for housing and food, mostly supplied by ABODA.

Social perks, too

Now 22 and graduated, Masi is back in Seattle this summer as a program-manager intern at Microsoft.

He moved into a one-bedroom apartment in Redmond stocked with all the necessities, for which he pays $900 a month. He makes about $7,000 a month.

He said he misses the community vibe he enjoyed with other interns at the Springhill Suites last year.

“Pretty much the lounge was just filled with us,” he recalled. “We would just play games and hang out and go in the pool and hot tub.”

Social perks are another draw in the corporate game of intern recruiting. Masi said he’s looking forward to Microsoft’s annual intern Signature Event; last year, it was Macklemore and Deadmau5 performing for an audience of more than 1,000 interns. Masi also remembers when Amazon interns were taunted by Microsoft interns, who had received free Surface tablets.

“A lot of people say that interns are treated better than full-time employees, and I believe that’s completely true,” Masi said.

But the lavish perks weren’t a major selling point for Nick Heindl, a computer-science and linguistics senior at University of Wisconsin at Madison. As an Amazon intern, he pays $500 for housing, which includes biweekly housekeeping, breakfast and dinner Monday through Friday and a free bus pass.

Heindl applied for about 50 internships before selecting Amazon, where he would intern as a software developer. An aspiring video-game developer, he searched for internships that could help him gain valuable experience.

“As long as I get put on a program I’m interested in, I’m happy,” said Heindl, 21. He heard about the accommodations big tech companies offered after his roommate interned at Microsoft last summer but said he wasn’t too interested in much other than having a place to live that he didn’t have to worry about.

“It’s not a make-or-break deal, as long as they pay for it,” he said.

Enticing future hires

These internship programs, perks and all, are designed to prime future employees and entice them to return to the Puget Sound area.

And for some interns, it’s working.

“Without a doubt,” said Wang about the influence of perks on interns, adding that he would consider a job offer with Boeing in part because he saw how well he was welcomed as an intern.

Boeing, for example, has more entry-level job openings than internship positions available.

“It’s the right investment to make,” said Cisler. “We’re really trying to use our interns as a pipeline for our entry-level positions.”

Some companies, like Amazon, try to lock in interns with a limited-time-only job offer by the end of the internship, giving them two weeks to decide.

At Microsoft, Dowling said, the majority of interns are given the opportunity to receive an offer at the end of their 12-week internship.

“At the end of their internship, they have the ability to leave with the offer in hand,” she said.

Masi said he might return to Seattle for a third time — and maybe for good. He said it’s likely that he’ll want to work for a big tech company in the area.

“I think it’s hard to have a negative experience with all of this support and help and pay and accommodations,” Masi said. “I want to be a professional intern for the rest of my life.”

Posted in Market News | Leave a comment

U.S. To Face Belgium After It Beats South Korea 1-0; Algeria Eliminates Russia With A Tie

Reduced to 10 men for over half the match, Belgium still beat South Korea 1-0 on Thursday to finish atop of Group H and eliminate the last Asian team from the World Cup.

With a late goal yet again, Belgium made the difference in the 78th minute when defender Jan Vertonghen followed up a shot from teenage striker Divock Origi and tapped in the rebound past goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu.

“We knew all games were going to be tough,” said Belgium coach Marc Wilmots. “But even with 10 men, we still pushed forward. These guys are really hungry.”

After three narrow victories and precious little beautiful play, Belgium will now play the United States in Salvador on Tuesday. And along with Iran, Japan and Australia, South Korea departed as the last team from the Asian federation, all in the first round.

Algeria finished second in the group after a 1-1 draw with Russia — a result that meant South Korea needed a four-goal win to advance.

While that never looked likely, South Korea did not go without a strong fight, landing the ball on Belgium’s crossbar on the hour-mark and testing standout goalie Thibaut Courtois with several shots afterward. Yet even with a man up, the Koreans could never pressure Belgium enough to find an opening and paid the price on a counterattack.

Belgium promised to play with flair in this tournament but is proving that it’s still a master at grinding out results. Having a goalie like Courtois does make it easier, especially as its defense was missing injured starters Vincent Kompany and Thomas Vermaelen. But the Belgians also proved they sorely lacked the creative skills of Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard, who were on the bench from the start.

On the hour mark, South Korea came closest to scoring when Son Heung-min saw a cross float right onto the crossbar beyond the reach of Courtois.

Belgium fielded four World Cup newcomers, but was reduced to three in the 45th minute when Steven Defour planted his studs, leg outstretched, into the shin of Kim Shin-wook. Australian referee Benjamin Williams didn’t hesitate to pull out the red card.

Earlier, the South Koreans almost scored around the half-hour mark. First, a long-distance drive from Ki Sung-yeung forced Courtois into a great diving save and, one minute later, Defour kicked a ball off the line in another goalmouth scramble.

Mertens could have lifted the pressure off Belgium in the 25th minute he was left wide open eight meters out. He skied the ball over, immediately opening his mouth in disbelief at having missed such a chance.

In the second half, South Korea brought on a second full striker in Lee Keun-ho for even more pressure.

The Asians created a flurry of chances early in the second half, but either Courtois showed his class or the South Koreans lacked any precision.

Meanwhile, in Curitiba, Algeria qualified for the knockout stages for the first time ever, with Islam Slimani’s headed equalizer giving his team a 1-1 draw against Russia.

Algeria placed second in Group H behind Belgium with four points, meaning it will meet Germany in the Round of 16.

The victory prompted mass celebrations on the pitch among the players, and had coach Vahid Halilhodzic shaking his head with disbelief.

Russia, needing a win to advance, went on the attack from the start and dominated the first half with its intricate and swift passing movements through midfield. The Russians took the lead as early as the 6th minute when Alexander Kokorin powerfully headed in a left-foot cross from Dmitry Kombarov.

Slimani’s 60th-minute equalizer came after Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev failed to catch a swinging left-foot free kick from Yacine Brahimi. That was the second costly error that Akinfeev has made in the tournament for Russia. However, there were indications on the TV broadcast that a green laser was being shone toward the goalkeeper’s face just before the free kick was taken.

Brahimi had troubled the Russia defense consistently until his substitution late in the game. Along with midfielder Sofiane Feghouli, he helped neutralize much of Russia’s attacking intent through the second half.

Before Algeria’s equalizer, Russia had chances to double its lead, notably in the 26th minute when Oleg Shatov weaved through the Algeria midfield but his right-foot shot drifted wide of the Algeria post.

Russia hasn’t qualified for the second round of the World Cup since 1986 when it played under the umbrella of the Soviet Union.

Algeria came closest to qualifying for the second stage at the World Cup in 1982, but West Germany and Austria played out a result that suited both of those teams. The European teams, meeting a day after Algeria had won its last group game, knew that a 1-0 win for West Germany would put both through to the second round at Algeria’s expense. It remains one of the most contentious group games in the tournament’s history.

Posted in Market News | Leave a comment

Seth MacFarlane Vows To Match Donations Made In ‘Reading Rainbow’ Fundraising Effort

LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeVar Burton’s “Reading Rainbow” fundraising effort is getting a boost from a generous pal, Seth MacFarlane.

MacFarlane has promised to match up to $1 million in pledges made on the Kickstarter website so that an online version of “Reading Rainbow” can be made available without charge to an expanded number of underfunded classrooms, Burton said in a statement Thursday.

MacFarlane’s offer is in effect through 3 p.m. EDT on July 2, when the online fundraiser is to conclude.

Burton said he was left nearly speechless by the “extraordinary generosity” of his friend, the TV and movie writer-producer-actor whose credits include “Ted” and “Family Guy.” MacFarlane’s spokeswoman confirmed the offer.

MacFarlane jumped in after hearing that “Reading Rainbow” needed to raise at least $5 million, Burton said. The Kickstarter campaign’s initial goal was $1 million.

More than $4 million had been pledged by 83,000-plus contributors as of Thursday afternoon.

Burton, star of “Roots and “Star Trek: Next Generation,” was host of the children’s literacy program that aired on public television through 2009. “Reading Rainbow” was launched as a best-selling tablet app in 2012, and aims to expand its reach with a subscription-based home version that will start at $5 monthly.

An educator-specific format will be created for schools and made available free to 1,500 of the neediest classrooms with the first $1 million in donations, according to RRKidz, the for-profit company co-founded by Burton.

The additional donations, including from MacFarlane, will enable the format to be extended to at least another 6,000 such classrooms, according to Burton.

“It was my mother who taught me that, by picking up a book, I could ‘go anywhere’ and ‘be anything,’” Burton said in a posting on Kickstarter.

Contributors can claim rewards ranging from autographed memorabilia to a private dinner with Burton to a chance to put on the visor that the actor wore on “Star Trek.”

Posted in Market News | Leave a comment

How to Stay in Touch with Friends and Family while Studying Abroad using Pure Minutes Mobile Long Distance

Looking for a way for your parents to stay in touch with you while overseas?

Pure Minutes has no hidden fees, no connection charges, real minute rounding and can all be used without annual contract. For a limited time, new users can us the coupon code BIRDISTHEWORD to get a 30% BONUS on their very first recharge!

The minutes NEVER expire, NO hidden fees and absolutely NO contracts required. No one ever has to watch the clock while making international calls again. It’s long-distance calling made simple. Best of all, they can recharge their account online (but honestly, you’d probably be the one doing it on their behalf) so they don’t have to go to stores and deal with complicated Phone Cards and those messy pin numbers.

Pure Minutes provides a low-cost international calling solution that works with any phone number, regardless of the current provider.  This means that a user can enjoy the benefits of low international rates without needing to change their current landline or mobile cell phone service provider.  Subscribed callers simply dial a local access number and through modern “Automatic Caller Identification” software we can recognize a subscribed caller making the need for complicated PIN codes a thing of the past.

What’s the advantage of Pure Minutes? The extra mile of convenience is that our system works with any cell phone! They don’t need to be home to make that phone call and neither do you. Make or take that call on your way to school or work! Imagine being able to talk to loved ones while still doing the grocery shopping, laundry or at the gym. Now THAT’S simple!

Supported Carriers: AT&T, Sprint, Nextel, Boost, Verizon Wireless, U.S. Cellular®, T-Mobile®, MetroPCS, Tracphone, Cricket, Cellular One Dobson, Cincinnati Bell, Alltel, Virgin Mobile USA, Cellular South, Unicel, Viaero Wireless US, Centennial and Ntelos

Posted in Market News | Leave a comment

Amazon Deal of the Day: Back to the Future: Part II: Marty McFly Cap Replica

A Diamond Select Release! The year 2015 brings many advancements according to the blockbuster Back to the Future series — everything from hoverboards to self-drying jackets — including Marty McFly Jr’s signature color-changing cap! Reproduced in every detail, this one-size-fits-all replica cap features ultra-refractive fabrics, Velcro closures, and enough 21st century tech to erase more than a photograph! Add this temporal trapping to your ensemble now before you run OUTATIME!

5513426 Features: -Re-creates the futuristic baseball cap worn by Marty McFly during his visit to 2015 in back to the future part II.-More than two decades after the first movie’s release, the Back to the Future trilogy remains a favorite among viewers of all ages.-Comes with velcro closure.-One size fits all.-Age: 3 Years and up. Color/Finish: -Cap features material that shimmers and changes color.

Pick up your cap at Amazon today!

Posted in Market News | Leave a comment

Meet The Colachos, Men Who Jump Over Babies During Feast Of Corpus Christi

CASTRILLO DE MURCIA, Spain (RNS) It’s been three years since Juan Jose Duenas jumped over dozens of babies to the cheers of thousands of spectators, but he remembers it as one of the high points of his life and considers it the fulfillment of a family legacy.

Following in the footsteps of his father and his grandfather, Jose Duenas volunteered for the lead role in El Colacho, an unusual religious festival held annually in this small Spanish village on the Feast of Corpus Christi.

“(It) reinforces your bond with the people,” he said.

Even in a country famed for ostentatious spectacles like the running of the bulls in Pamplona and the tomato-throwing fest in Bunol, the baby-jumping element stands out and attracts a growing number of enthusiasts each year.

Yet few of the thousands expected to flock here Thursday (June 19) for this year’s festivities know that El Colacho is not just a quaint tradition representing the triumph of good over evil and welcoming newborns into the world — it’s also the village’s best bet in its battle for survival.

“These towns and villages around here have lots of history and religious festivals but few inhabitants,” said Angel Manso, an organizer of the event.

In the early 20th century Castrillo de Murcia had almost 1,000 inhabitants, five religious orders and five bars. Today it has one religious order, one bar and fewer than 200 people living in its picturesque stone houses. There are virtually no youths left and locals are continuing to move to the cities.

It’s a predicament shared by many small towns and villages in rural Spain, which has experienced radical rural flight.

“Modernism is breaking down the way of life that leads to traditions like El Colacho,” lamented Manso.

Though it might seem like a perfect publicity stunt, the festival was not invented for the benefit of outsiders. It dates back to 1620, the year it was first documented, and is believed to have pagan origins.

“When I was a kid the entire village would bend on its knees during the ceremony and it would take place in complete silence,“ reminisced 74-year-old Amadeo Santamana.

Other villagers agree much of the religious fervor that once surrounded the ritual is gone, but its key components are intact.

The highlight remains when the eponymous Colacho — a man wearing a yellow mask, yellow jacket, tight black pants and carrying a whip in one hand and oversized castanets in the other — runs around the village jumping over an obstacle course of babies aged 1 or younger.

The sight of a grown man dressed as a fiend leaping over the helpless babies might strike panic in the heart of some parents. But locals say the only injuries sustained in its history have been to Colachos who pulled hamstrings. Visitors like the ritual so much, the villagers said, that nowadays all the 70 or so baby participants each year are theirs.

“Some are only a few days old and parents bring them right from hospital so they can be welcomed in this tradition,” said Manzo.

Galloping over the toddlers demands a degree of physical ability. Jose Duenas practiced a few times by jumping over mattresses strewn with children of friends, but on the big day he found the high-flying act easier than expected.

“It was simple,” said the one-time Colacho, who is a financial adviser by day. “The anxiety you feel has more to do with respecting the rituals and the liturgy rhythm than with the jumping itself.”

He said he would gladly reprise the role but that tradition requires a different volunteer each year, which prevents squabbles over who gets the honor.

Those who can’t be in Castrillo de Murcia on Corpus Christi to catch a glimpse of El Colacho need not worry: A small cottage industry has sprung up around the festival. A local museum sells outfits and videos of the event year-round.

If nothing else, the festival has brought the village a little attention in a world indifferent to their suffering. For the old-timers who meet every day at the last remaining bar where they eat tapas, drink cerveza and chatter, it has proven a significant source of solace.

“When people hear Castrillo de Murcia, what do they think?” asked Santamana, the septuagenarian veteran of dozens of festivals. “They think of El Colacho, of course!”

Posted in Market News | Leave a comment

Apple to open store in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol

Tech giant Apple said Monday that later this week it will open a new store in an iconic building on Madrid’s famous downtown square, Puerta del Sol, where it will make available all its models, the chance to try them out and lessons on using them, plus a “souvenir” T-shirt for the first 1,000 customers.

The company’s 11th store in Spain will open this Saturday, offering free training sessions and workshops, and a service that enables payment of purchases directly from the brand’s mobile phones.

The store will occupy the building at No. 1 Puerta del Sol, which has undergone an extensive renovation since the local government authorized a Special Plan for the purpose.

Built in the 19th century, the building has seven stories with a total area of 6,066 sq. meters (65,208 sq. feet) and stands on a plot measuring 948 sq. meters (10,190 sq. feet) on the east side of Puerta del Sol.

The remodeling of the building, with the required restoration and preservation of the original facade and its materials, has covered the ground-floor patio and left an open central space that will allow sunlight to reach the first floor and improve lighting on the second.

Posted in Market News | Leave a comment